Cameron Blair Clash on Riots
PM and Blair Differ on Riot Diagnosis

The debate between David Cameron and Tony Blair illustrates how the riots have become a major issue for the British Political System.

Amiel Ungar,

Tony Blair
Tony Blair
wikipedia

The aftertremors of the riots in Britain are still continuing. The public was truly traumatized by the events and the fact that Britain has experienced riots in its history is of no hlep as those riots were not graphically shown on the telly.

Secondly, the diagnosis of what caused the riots has become intertwined with the political debate and also with policymaking corollaries to be drawn from the events.

Before the events in Libya made David Cameron a success for a time, he published an article in the Daily Express that could be viewed as an indictment of the 13 year Labour Government that preceded him.

"The fight-back… means rebuilding the sense of personal responsibility that has been eroded over the years by many things, from the welfare system where work doesn’t pay to the twisting and misrepresenting of human rights."

On the issue of human rights, the prime minister, who seems willing to acquiesce to greater centralization in the Euro bloc, wants Britain to jettison the European Human Rights Act and replace it with a British bill of rights.

"We are looking at creating our own British Bill of Rights. We are going to fight in Europe for changes 
to the way the European Court works and we will fight to ensure people understand the real scope of these
rights and do not use them as cover for rules or excuses that fly in the face of common sense."

This attitude will undoubtedly go down very well with the strongly Eurosceptic Conservative backbenchers. It is already creating a cabinet row with the junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, who are far more assertive on human rights than either the Conservatives or Labour and are the most pro-Europe party in parliament.

With the general public, the Cameron line also appears to be going down well The YouGov/Sunday Times poll suggests that the public does not consider the sentences meted out to the rioters to be excessively harsh. For example, when two men received a four-year sentence for trying to incite riots through Facebook, just 32% said it was too harsh while 50% thought the sentence was right.

Almost half (48%) of the people thought the sentences for rioters were about right, with the remainder more likely to think they were too soft (31%) than too harsh (14%).

Stripping convicted rioters of their benefit entitlements, received backing from 68% of the respondents.

Labor and Pensions Secretary and former Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith has described Cameron's reaction to the riots as his 9/11 moment. He predicts that it will dominate his premiership the way 9/11 dominated the Bush presidency and provide him with an opportunity to perform a moral overhaul that would complete the economic reforms of the Margaret Thatcher era.

Another charge being made by the Conservatives is that the Labour government opened the floodgates to immigration. This resulted in lower tier jobs being taken by immigrants almost totally nullifying the government job creation's program. The failure of the educational system that could not impart basic literacy further consigned the youth to unemployment and crime

Tony Blair into attempted to rebut the charges that represent an indictment of his stewardship. Blair, writing in the Observer, the Sunday edition of the Guardian, retorted that Britain was not a sick society as David Cameron claimed.  Like all developed nations, Britain had to cope with "the group of alienated, disaffected youth who are outside the social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behavior."

By claiming that these people represent society, David Cameron, whom Blair does not mention by name, produces a "completely muddle-headed analysis of what has gone wrong. Britain as a whole is not in the grip of some general 'moral decline'." He adds that it also unfairly gives Britain a bad name.

 

 




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